Steve Hanson | Wis.Community

Steve Hanson

Steve Hanson

Steve is a web designer and has recently retired from running the hosting and development company Cruiskeen Consulting LLC. In his spare time he makes beer and wine, and has a life-long interest in music of all types. Cruiskeen Consulting LLC is the parent company of Wis.Community, and publication of this site  continues after his retirement. 

My particular skills include web developing and hosting, music (particularly 60-70's popular music and opera -- that is eclectic enough). I am also a beer, wine, cider, and mead maker.  I am on the board at Menomonie Market Food Co-op and have a strong interest in politics, local government, and local foods. I am a member of the Citizen Action Organizing Co-op of Western Wisconsin and Wisconsin Farmers Union. I have in the past contributed to many different web publications and for many years edited

Steve is a member of LION Publishers.

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Yesterday, April 4

  • 6:36pm

    Changes to Image
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    Image: associate_justice_brett_kavanaugh_official_portrait.jpg
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  • 6:34pm

    As expected, the Wisconsin Republican Party, Republican National Committee, and the Wisconsin Legislature have all filed an appeal on the April 7 election. In their appeal they ask that absentee ballots postmarked after the April 7 election date not be counted. The previous ruling by Judge William Conley had required that ballots received by April 13 be counted no matter when they were sent. The appeal asks Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh to respond no later than Monday.

  • 5:53pm

    Changes to Body
     
    The special session of the legislature is underway. The Senate met for five seconds, gaveling in and gaveling out. Democratic Senators Jon Erpenbach and Tim Carpenter were the only senators present. 
     
    The special session of the legislature is underway. The Senate met for five seconds, gaveling in and gaveling out. Democratic Senators Jon Erpenbach and Tim Carpenter were the only senators present. 
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    The Assembly has now also had their special session, taking a much more thoughtful 17 seconds to gavel in and gavel out. 
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    The Assembly has now also had their special session, taking In uch more thoughtful 17 seconds to gavel in and gavel out. 
     
    The legislature is now adjourned until 10 AM on Monday.
     
    The legislature is now adjourned until 10 AM on Monday.
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    In a press release this afternoon Governor Evers responded to the lack of action by the legislature.
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    “Republicans in the Legislature are playing politics with public safety and ignoring the urgency of this public health crisis. It’s wrong. No one should have to choose between their health and their right to vote. Being a good leader means listening to the experts, being willing to adjust our course based on the science, and making the tough decisions necessary to protect the people of our state.
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    “This, however, is an easy decision. It's time for every Republican legislator to do their jobs and take a vote on this commonsense proposal to extend the election date so everyone can vote safely from home. I urge every Wisconsinite to contact their legislators and demand a vote.”
    Read more
  • 4:43pm

    Changes to Body
     
    The special session of the legislature is underway. The Senate met for five seconds, gaveling in and gaveling out. Democratic Senators Jon Erpenbach and Tim Carpenter were the only senators present. 
     
    The special session of the legislature is underway. The Senate met for five seconds, gaveling in and gaveling out. Democratic Senators Jon Erpenbach and Tim Carpenter were the only senators present. 
     
    The Assembly has now also had their special session, taking a much more thoughtful 17 seconds to gavel in and gavel out. 
     
    The Assembly has now also had their special session, taking a much more thoughtful 17 seconds to gavel in and gavel out. 
      +
    The legislature is now adjourned until 10 AM on Monday.
    Read more
  • 4:41pm

    Changes to Body
     
    The special session of the legislature is underway. The Senate met for five seconds, gaveling in and gaveling out. Democratic Senators Jon Erpenbach and Tim Carpenter were the only senators present. 
     
    The special session of the legislature is underway. The Senate met for five seconds, gaveling in and gaveling out. Democratic Senators Jon Erpenbach and Tim Carpenter were the only senators present. 
      +
    The Assembly has now also had their special session, taking a much more thoughtful 17 seconds to gavel in and gavel out. 
    Read more
  • 4:30pm

    The special session of the legislature is underway. The Senate met for five seconds, gaveling in and gaveling out. Democratic Senators Jon Erpenbach and Tim Carpenter were the only senators present. 

    The Assembly has now also had their special session, taking In uch more thoughtful 17 seconds to gavel in and gavel out. 

    The legislature is now adjourned until 10 AM on Monday.

    In a press release this afternoon Governor Evers responded to the lack of action by the legislature.

    Republicans in the Legislature are playing politics with public safety and ignoring the urgency of this public health crisis. It’s wrong. No one should have to choose between their health and their right to vote. Being a good leader means listening to the experts, being willing to adjust our course based on the science, and making the tough decisions necessary to protect the people of our state.

    This, however, is an easy decision. It's time for every Republican legislator to do their jobs and take a vote on this commonsense proposal to extend the election date so everyone can vote safely from home. I urge every Wisconsinite to contact their legislators and demand a vote.”

    Read more
  • 3:43pm

    MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers today announced that Wisconsin has been granted a major disaster declaration for the entire state of Wisconsin, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration provides access to Public Assistance programs for all 72 Wisconsin counties and the state’s federally recognized tribes.

    “I am grateful for the swift action of the federal government in reviewing our request for a major disaster declaration,” Gov. Evers said. “The assistance granted today will help ensure Wisconsin can gain access to critical assistance as we continue our work to respond to this pandemic.”

    Gov. Evers earlier this week requested that the federal government provide the following programs to support the state’s response: Public Assistance, Direct Assistance, Hazard Mitigation (statewide), and certain Individual Assistance programs; Crisis Counseling, Community Disaster Loans and the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Program.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) notified the state today that it is granting the request for Public Assistance to help provide reimbursement for emergency protective measures taken by state and local governments in their response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The declaration also authorizes direct Federal Assistance which means when the State and local governments lack the capability to perform or to contract for eligible emergency work and/or debris removal, the State may request that the work be accomplished by a federal agency. The governor’s additional requests for assistance remain under review.

    “The state will work with communities across Wisconsin to ensure federal disaster assistance is received as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Darrell L. Williams, Wisconsin Emergency Management administrator. “We are thankful that our partners at FEMA helped to get a quick response to this request, so we can ensure critical assistance programs are available to communities that are in need.”

    The major disaster declaration covers assistance to public entities, and will cover eligible projects submitted by counties, cities, townships, tribes, and certain private, not-for-profit organizations. Local governments in the declared counties are now eligible for federal assistance and should contact county emergency management directors for further information. Under the program, FEMA provides 75 percent of eligible costs...
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  • 3:17pm

    We may not continue to write an article about this every day unless something really unusual happens, We still wait patiently for a strong indication of the curve flattening. Cases in the state have increased by 200 since yesterday. There are now 2112 confirmed cases of infection in the state. The number of deaths has reached 56, which is a considerable increase since yesterday's numbers. There are 588 hospitalizations, and 28% of those infected are being treated in the hospital. 

    There are now 5 confirmed cases in Dunn County, an increase of one since yesterday. There are now 16 confirmed cases in Chippewa County and 17 in Eau Claire County.

    More detail is available at the Wisconsin DHS reporting page at  - we are working on some newer visualizations to go along with our current graph of all confirmed cases in the state. 

  • 3:03pm

    The capitol building in Madison has just opened for the special legislative session. It is likely that they will simply gavel in and gavel out of the session. If we can dig up a live feed of the session it will appear here.

  • 11:31am

    Changes to News Article Type
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    News
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    Opinion
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  • 11:31am

    Changes to Tags
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    dairy farming
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    farming
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  • 11:30am

    Wisconsin Farmers Union has received a number of inquiries from concerned consumers along the lines of, "Can't farmers do something with the milk other than dump it?  Why are farmers disposing of milk when I'm being limited on milk purchases at the store?"  

    This situation is indeed troubling. It is heartbreaking for farmers to have to dispose of their milk like this.

    The reason this is happening right now is that many of the largest institutional buyers of dairy products, including schools and restaurants, abruptly closed nationwide -- and they, in turn, abruptly cancelled orders that they had placed with cheese plants and milk bottlers. Since most dairy products are perishable, dairy processors can only store a limited amount of product that they don't have a buyer for. Once their storage is full, they start turning away farmers' milk from the plant because they have nowhere to put the finished product.

    Farmers Union and other advocacy groups have urged the USDA to step in and buy surplus dairy products for distribution to food pantries, etc.  We are hopeful that this will happen soon, and begin to relieve the current kink in the dairy supply chain.

    The other thing that will hopefully happen, but this will take a bit more time, is for dairy products that were originally destined for restaurants to be re-packaged for retail sale. People are buying less food at restaurants right now, but they are buying more food at grocery stores. Unfortunately, it will take some time for food processors to make that conversion.  A cheese plant that normally produces unbranded 50-pound bags of mozzarella cheese for restaurants cannot instantaneously convert its production line to make branded 16-ounce packages of cheese for grocery stores. Hopefully business owners will get creative and start coming up with new ways to meet consumer demand for dairy products outside of the restaurant supply chain.

    There is one other important action that Congress could take. For many years, WFU has urged Congress to create a mechanism that would give farmers the economic incentive to balance their milk production with market demand, so that farmers never find themselves in the terrible situation of having to dispose of milk that doesn't have a home. This current circumstance really drives home the need for balancing dairy supply and demand. While nothing could have entirely insulated the dairy industry from the impact of the global pandemic, farmers would be far better off in this moment if we had a program in place to help them quickly adjust their production in...

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  • 10:47am

    I was in the process of writing an editorial on the current drama that is the April 7 election. Today, for a change, we offer a video editorial. We are heading to a disaster next Tuesday, both from the viewpoint of public safety and the viewpoint of exercising our democratic duty. This isn't a partisan issue, it is an issue fo doing what is right for everyone. I turn this editorial over to that great friend of Wisconsin, Charlie "Manitowoc Minute" Berens. Contact your legislators. Charlie tells you how.

  • 10:40am

    The status of the April 7 election continues to change. Late yesterday the 7th District Court of Appeals responded to the emergency appeal posed by the state, and national Republican Parties, as well as the appeal from Republicans in the state legislature. The court refused to stay the order from Judge William Conley to change the cutoff date for the return of absentee ballots in the state, which was the main point of conjecture in the appeals. He also rejected the request to stay the one-day extension to request an absentee ballot (that extension had already expired by the time the court responded). 

    However, the court did rule that Conley had not given enough weight to the possibility of voter fraud and that the state had given advice to voters on the difficult issue of obtaining a witness to the absentee ballot before sending it in. Therefore, he did stay the change that allowed voters to not obtain a witness signature and to send an affirmation that the voter could not safely obtain a signature during the current crisis. 

    Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald and Speaker Robin Vos released a statement in support of the Appeals Court decision, stating

    “We’re pleased to see the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals uphold the rule of law by requiring witness signatures on absentee ballots to prevent fraud, and we accept that clerks need more time to count ballots. We still have grave concerns about election security by allowing votes to be postmarked or submitted after Election Day, and plan to appeal that issue to the United States Supreme Court.”

    As the appeal heads to the Supreme Court, the state of the election is still in doubt for various reasons. The one certainty is that voters are ill-advised to send in their absentee ballots without a witness signature as that will almost certainly result in the ballot being rejected. It is not clear what may happen with ballots that were returned without a signature in the time frame between the two rulings, or for voters who did not hear the change in legal opinion. 

    All of these rulings ignore what is the primary concern of many at this time, which is the inherent danger of holding in-person voting next Tuesday. Some areas are very short of poll workers and polling places are being consolidated into very small numbers of polling places, particularly in Milwaukee where there will almost certainly be fewer than a dozen polling places where there are usually 180. This will force very large numbers of voters into a small number of polling places, where they will be standing in line for dangerous periods of time. Adding to the confusion of where the polling places will be are some anecdotal reports that the polling places on MyVote.wi.gov sometime have incorrect addresses as the polling places keep getting consolidated and moved. This will almost certainly add to the possibility of...

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